High-Voltage Transmission Lines–Coming to a County Near You

The Department of the Interior has approved the majority of the Gateway West Transmission Line Project, a new plan put together jointly by Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power to extend 990 miles of high-voltage transmission lines from eastern Wyoming to western Idaho near Boise. Click on the graphic below to go to a larger map of the proposed routes.


The Gateway West Transmission Line Project is described as an infrastructure upgrade designed to integrate renewable resources such as wind generators in eastern Wyoming with other resources, while stabilizing the energy grid overall. Gateway West links up the Windstar substation near Douglas Wyoming with the Jim Bridger coal-burning power plant near Rock Springs, and proceeds west through Montpelier, Idaho toward American Falls. South of Pocatello, the line diverges. The BLM approved corridors offer options both north and south of the Snake River–the final route could go either way, or over land not approved by the BLM at all. Routes running west from near Twin Falls have not yet been approved, and further discussion is expected, but all currently studied routes are marked, including one running the foothills from Gooding through Mountain Home to Boise.

Right of way decisions will affect many Idahoans in the near future, as the project gains momentum. There are issues of environmental impact, health concerns, water rights, property and land use. The Gateway West project runs through the collective backyard of all residents of southern Idaho–it’s well worth a look.


Large energy concerns are also at work in the northern Idaho panhandle. Diverse groups from the National Forest Service to farmers and ranchers to the Nez Perce Tribe are fighting the transportation of supersized cargo destined for the Alberta tar sands through Idaho’s wild and scenic corridors. Our #BookOfTheDay today explores the ramifications of the Keystone XL pipeline–The Pipeline and the Paradigm by Samuel Avery.

Serendipitously and unfortunately, as I was about to post this energy business entry, a pipeline has exploded near Milford, Texas, making this our current event #LinkOfTheDay the live broadcast from the Dallas/Fort Worth NBC Channel 5, covering the resultant uncontrolled fire. The initial reports say the authorities in charge plan to let the pipeline burn, while evacuating surrounding residents and the town of Milford because of the toxic smoke.


Our most recent addition to the library collection addressing the economics of energy industries is The Frackers by financial columnist Gregory Zuckerman, a history of the wildcatters who have made fortunes in hydraulic fracturing ventures. The Community Library has extensive recent writings on power resources, the history and future of the energy business, and the heavyweight politics of energy.

Think globally and read and discuss locally @The Community Library–we’ll leave the lights on for you.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. How timely for me! Just got into a spitting match with my brother (Texan) about clean power. Thanks for giving me some more sources to throw at him. Sibling rivalry is a wonderful thing! 🙂

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